Identity is not a thing but a process--- a constant state of negotiation. ---Schlesinger, 1987
Annette Barbier: I'm recording this conversation.
Telemarketer: Pardon me?
AB: I'd just like for you to know that I'm recording this conversation.
T: I don't think that's legal, ma'am.
AB: You don't think it's legal? (laughs) In some states it's illegal to solicit people in their homes by telephone. . . .
T: Can I get my supervisor and have her talk with you?
AB: Well, if you want to. I'm not the one insisting on continuing this conversation.
T: Well, I don't want to be rude and hang up on you either.
AB: Well, you could just say good-bye and hang up.
Artist's StatementDomestic space---formerly inviolable---is increasingly disrupted by electronic communication of all sorts, including radio, TV, email and the telephone. Perhaps the most insidious form of intrusion is telephone solicitation.
This piece consists of recordings of conversations with telephone solicitors over a period of several weeks.
I am not sure when telephone solicitations became so popular, but they seem to have increased exponentially, as has the volume of junk mail, since I moved to the suburbs 5 years ago. Since leaving the city, I have become self-conscious about the level of consumerism rampant among my peers and myself. Even though my house is much smaller now and has no basement to store things, I seem to have acquired enormous truckloads of junk at the rate of about 1 ton per year. Telephone solicitations seem like an unlooked-for opportunity to buy even more junk. Not only that, I have begun coming home, tired and facing the dread question "what's for dinner," to a barrage of these calls that do not seem to stop until bedtime. This piece is a protest, although one I have not always been up to. It has involved psychological games that take a lot of energy to play.
Annette Barbier, Radio, Television and Film Department, Northwestern University, Room 212 312, 1905 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-2270, U.S.A., email@example.com.
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